Why we compete?

Posted on April 6, 2009 by

An excellent article received from Tony Mangan

Punishing Race Is an Enticing Lost Cause

By Eli Saslow


Alone, running and hiking in the mountains for almost 50 hours, Brian Robinson’s mind had slowly unraveled. He had run through two sleepless nights, through fog and sideways rain, through thornbushes and over rattlesnake dens. Now, with 80 miles finished and 20 left in the world’s toughest footrace, Robinson no longer could differentiate between real and imaginary. Around each corner, he thought he heard picnickers laughing at him. At midnight. In the remote woodlands of Tennessee.

Robinson stumbled into the Barkley Marathons’ final aid station at 8 a.m., with black hollows surrounding his eyes. His hands trembled, a result of the five caffeine pills he had swallowed. Dozens of scratches covered his arms and legs. His dry-fit shirt was dingy and frayed. The slightest gust of wind knocked Robinson from side to side, so he leaned against a tree.

A half-dozen friends and fellow runners — all of whom had quit long ago — rushed to prepare Robinson for the final section of the race. Two people changed his shoes. One person sponged his forehead. His friend, Wendell Doman, started cooking six eggs as Robinson eyed his watch.

“I need to get back out there now,” Robinson said. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to cook those, Wendell.”

Rest of the article in The Washington Post